Christmas at the White House is a very special time. Each year, with the help of over 50 volunteers from around the country, the White House is magically transformed into a winter wonderland.
For Christmas 1995, the White House decorations celebrate the story of the classic American poem, "The Night Before Christmas." This year, the First Family invited three distinct groups of artisans to create ornaments for the White House trees. The American Institute of Architects and architecture students designed ornaments representing the house that is the scene of Santa's visit. Culinary schools sent ornaments of confectionery delights, inspired by "visions of sugar plums," while the American Needlepoint Guild and the Embroiders Guild of America created the traditional holiday stockings. The green velvet hand-made tree skirt was designed by individual artisans from each of the 50 states, territories and the District of Columbia, to celebrate the first Clinton holidays at the White House.
Children from the US Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Schools also contributed ornaments based on their interpretations of the classic poem. These ornaments are featured on two special trees located in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. The Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes and supports primary and secondary schools that are noted for their exceptional arts education, and their effectiveness in meeting the national education goals.
One of the most spectacular features of Christmas at the White House is the Gingerbread house. Each year the house has a special theme; this year, the house is a sentimental favorite of the First Lady, as it is a replica of her girlhood home on Wisner Street in Park Ridge, Illinois. The two front rooms are done as they would appear in "The Night Before Christmas:" the bedroom is filled with children "all snug in their beds," and the living room is complete with "stockings hung by the chimney with care." The gingerbread house took nearly five months to create ... and of course, the entire creation is edible. (Here, Mrs. Clinton looks at the gingerbread house.)
As always, each ornament is a delightful reminder of the variety of American talent and imagination.